Lee Smith, Ambridge
This week: Smith led Ambridge to a victory against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, which kept Ambridge No. 1 in the Class AA volleyball.
Check this out: Smith, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound junior, is arguably the best player in the WPIAL. Penn State, Ohio State and some colleges on the West Coast already have expressed interest in him.
• You're 6-5. Did you ever play basketball? I played through ninth grade. I was going to play in 10th grade but I decided to stick with volleyball because basketball mixed too much with club volleyball.
• A lot of people say you're the best player in the WPIAL. Do you buy that? I don't know. That's a tough question to answer because I don't want to sound like I have a big head. I just try to play my game.
• Why is Ambridge so good all the time in volleyball? A lot of it is coaching. Our high school coach [Glenn Freed] is also our junior high coach. So he starts us off young. We train and turn it into a year-round thing.
• Where would you have your school prom? We have it at some country club. Myself, I would have it on a big cruise ship. A big old yacht.
• Did you pass your driver's test the first time? I did, but actually it's a funny story. I got there about an hour-and-a-half early for my appointment because I was going to practice parallel parking. But they took me right away. I kind of freaked out because I never parallel parked before. Then the instructor said, 'OK, the first thing we're going to do is parallel park.' But I actually nailed it pretty well and passed. I don't know how I did that.
-- By Mike White
Kayla Briggs, Chartiers-Houston
Last week: Briggs tossed two shutouts to help the Chartiers-Houston softball team remain undefeated.
Check this out: Chartiers-Houston, which won the past two WPIAL Class A championships, moved up to Class AA this season, but the stage hasn't been too big for the Bucs or its star pitcher. Briggs, a senior, is 15-0 and ranks among the WPIAL strikeout leaders with 154. Briggs has shut out 10 of the 12 WPIAL opponents the Bucs have faced. She was named all-state last season and is a two-time all-section pick.
• How many types of pitches do you throw? Four. The screwball, drop-curve, fastball and changeup.
• Could you strike out a lot of guys on the Chartiers-Houston baseball team? (Laughs) I have no idea. I've never watched them play.
• Best player in the WPIAL? Well, the best hitter is (Canon-McMillan's) Giorgiana Zeremenko.
• Do you watch The Voice? Yeah, sometimes.
• If you performed, which judge would you want to pick you? Adam Levine.
• Do you drink energy drinks? No. I just drink Powerade.
• Something you're good at cooking? Mac and cheese.
• What do you typically put on a hamburger? Just ketchup.
• Last movie you saw in a theater? Red Dawn.
• How far will the Penguins go in the playoffs? I don't know. I don't even watch them.
-- By Brad EverettAthlete of the Week